Horse Blankets: Fun or Conundrum?
Let’s face it. Shopping for horse blankets is fun. It’s wardrobe shopping for your horse!
That is, until you start reading about blanket features. Terms like “1200D” or “ripstop” or “breathability” tend to pop up a lot. Suddenly, the fun ends, and your eyes glaze over.
Ah, the science of blanketing your horse. Horse blankets have become minor technological marvels, and understanding their technical features will help you buy one (or more!) most suitable for your horse’s lifestyle and your budget.
So, I’m doing you a favor …
I did some research (so you don’t have to) on three of the common terms you’ll see on your blanket shopping sprees. Armed with the knowledge that follows, you’ll be empowered to make smart blanket choices.
Denier is a unit of measurement that designates fiber thickness.
The thicker the fiber, the higher the denier number will be. Fabrics with thick fibers are sturdier and tougher. Tough fabrics make good horse blankets.
Now chew on this: A single strand of silk measures 1 denier— while it’s not unusual for a turnout blanket to be 1200 denier (1200D).
What does this mean for you, as you’re contemplating a blanket buy?
Think about your horse’s lifestyle and how he “wears” his clothes. Is he out all day roughhousing? Or is he more docile?
And, think about your budget. A 1200D blanket will cost more than a 600D, but the higher denier count makes it more rugged, so you may get a longer life out of it.
Don’t Take Ripstop Literally
Ripstop is a weave within the fabric of many horse blankets that helps control rips. If you look closely at a blanket with ripstop, you’ll see a distinctive pattern, much like a checkerboard.
Within the checkerboard pattern are reinforced fibers “scattered” throughout. These reinforced areas are stronger. Their job? To keep a rip from spreading.
I know what you’re thinking … ‘Doesn’t ripstop keep rips from happening?’
On the contrary, ripstop allows rips to occur should your horse’s blanket get caught on something, as a safety measure. Those stronger, reinforced areas are supposed to let go, much like a halter that breaks at a certain pressure.
The Waterproof/Breathability Connection
A fully waterproof blanket would not keep your horse dry. What!?
Think of those rubber raincoats— sure, you won’t get wet from the rain, but inside the coat, you’ll soon be uncomfortably soggy because the perspiration from your own body can’t escape.
Same thing with your horse. That’s why the fabric of many horse blankets are cleverly designed to keep rain or snow from seeping in while allowing moisture from sweat to escape. This is breathability.
In the description, if you see a number like “3000mm,” this represents how waterproof the blanket is. The number means how many millimeters of water the fabric can withstand before water starts to penetrate. The higher this “mm” number is, the more waterproof the blanket will be.
For reference, Evo, a ski and snowboard online retailer, recommends a minimum of 5000mm for ski and snowboard outerwear. Consider this when buying a blanket if your horse spends a lot of time in the elements.
And Now, Let The Shopping Begin!
There, that wasn’t so bad now, was it?
This quick primer on three common, technical features of horse blankets should equip you to make wise blanket buying decisions for you and your horse. You’re ready to rock and roll.
Are there any other terms you’d like defined? Leave a comment below!